EXPECT another round of mayhem as UAAP Season 79 MVP and newly-crowned champ Ben Mbala plans to return to La Salle and lead the Green Archers’ bid for back-to-back titles.
Even with the departure of graduating star and Finals MVP Jeron Teng, the hard-driving Cameroonian is confident the Green Archers will have enough talent to keep the crown they won via sweep of rival Ateneo in this year's finals.
“Yeah, I think we can. We have a very deep lineup,” he said the morning after scoring 18 points and pulling down 10 rebounds to help the Archers vanquish the Blue Eagles in Game Two, 79-72, and hoist their ninth UAAP championship.
“It feels great especially since we got to do it against Ateneo,” added Mbala, easily the league’s most dominant player in Season 79.
The Green Archers slotman, however, refused to expound on his eligibility to play one more season with the Taft-based squad.
Mbala admitted he wasn’t confident with his abilities at the start of the season, especially after sitting out three years — two years of residency and another as a penalty for playing in an unsanctioned basketball tournament in General Santos City while serving residency.
“I was rusty and lacked game experience but I was plenty motivated,” he said.
With a UAAP title repeat on his short-term goals, Mbala also shared his thoughts on plans for the long run, hinting at possibly taking his talents overseas.
“I will say I will graduate first and then go pro, of course,” shared Mbala. “Where? It will depend on the offer.”
“I don't really want to think about it now. But maybe (go overseas),” he added.
As for La Salle's potential recruitment of Bright Akhuetie, Mbala said that he had no knowledge whatsoever of any dealings between his team and the former Perpetual Help import.
"I don't know. I am not the one doing the recruiting for La Salle," he said.
What he does know is that he’s due for some rest and relaxation back hom with his mother in two weeks time, where he intends to savor the sweet taste of victory.
“I will just celebrate first!” said Mbala.